The Oakland Athletics selected Florida Gators shortstop Richie Martin with the 20th overall selection in the 2015 Rule 5 Amateur Draft on Monday night. Martin is the fourth Gator selected in the first round since Kevin O’Sullivan took over at Florida (Mike Zunino, Brian Johnson-2012, Jonathon Crawford-2013) and the 16th overall.
Martin was the youngest four-year eligible player in the draft, something MLB teams loved, and really helped himself out with a stellar junior season. Martin is hitting .292 heading into the College World Series and has started all 65 games at shortstop. He leads the team with 59 runs scored and has knocked home five dingers as well.
Martin greatly improved in the field this year. As a sophomore, Martin committed a team-high 21 errors. He cut that number down to just eight on the best defensive team in the country.
Martin is a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award — given out to the nation’s best shortstop — and Martin has been a key player in the field for the Gators, who lead the nation with a .985 fielding percentage.
Martin struggled some as a sophomore but really broke out last summer in the Cape Cod League with the Bourne Braves. Martin ranked second in the league batting .364 (a Bourne Braves single season record), while leading the league in hits (59) and runs (36).
As a first round selection, Martin will likely come to a deal with Oakland and play his final games as a Gator in the upcoming College World Series.